Highlights\n•\nCognitive impairment (CI) is frequent in persons with multiple sclerosis.\n•\nThe association of cholesterol pathways with cognitive impairment was investigated.\n•\nThe relative proportions of low density cholesterol to high density cholesterol were associated with cognitive performance speed as measured on the symbol digit modalities test (SDMT).\nAbstract\nBackground\nCognitive impairment (CI) is frequent in persons with multiple sclerosis (PwMS) and is linked to neurodegeneration. Cholesterol pathway biomarkers (CPB) are associated with blood-brain barrier breakdown, lesions, and neurodegeneration in multiple sclerosis (MS). CPB could influence CI.\nMethods\nThis cross-sectional study (n = 163) included 74 relapsing-remitting MS (RR-MS), 48 progressive MS (P-MS) and 41 healthy control (HC) subjects. The assessed physical disability and cognitive measures were: Nine-hole Peg Test (NHPT), Timed 25-Foot Walk, Symbol Digit Modalities Test (SDMT), Paced Auditory Serial Addition Test-3, and Beck Depression Inventory-Fast Screen. CPB panel included plasma total cholesterol (TC), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and the apolipoproteins (Apo), ApoA-I, ApoA-II, ApoB, ApoC-II and ApoE. Disability and cognitive measures were assessed as dependent variables in regression analyzes with age, sex, body mass index, years of education, HC vs. RR-MS vs. P-MS status, CPB, and a HC vs. RR-MS vs. P-MS status × CPB interaction term as predictors.\nResults\nSDMT was associated with the interaction terms for HDL-C (p = 0.045), ApoA-I (p = 0.032), ApoB (p = 0.032), TC/HDL-C (p = 0.013), and ApoB/ApoA-I (p = 0.008) ratios. CPB associations of SDMT were not abrogated upon adjusting for brain parenchymal volume. NHPT performance was associated with the interaction terms for TC (p = 0.047), LDL-C (p = 0.017), ApoB (p = 0.001), HDL-C (p = 0.035), ApoA-I (p = 0.032), ApoC-II (p = 0.049) and ApoE (p = 0.037), TC/HDL-C (p < 0.001), and ApoB/ApoA-I ratios (p < 0.001).\nConclusions\nThe LDL to HDL proportion is associated with SDMT and NHPT in MS. The findings are consistent with a potential role for CPB in CI.